Farm cheese is a spread. From photos elsewhere it looks like farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese topped with za’atar and olive oil.
Cheese is a spread served with bread. Probably sheep’s milk with olive oil and spices.
Sadly prawns were not available last night. When I return I will not be ordering the octopus mostly because there are other better things to order.
all aboard the Bavel hype train! (can’t wait to go)
I’m finding this menu a bit confusing. Duck and prawns? Which parts of the “middle-east” are the inspiration here? Or is it simply a flavor profile based on middle-eastern spices?
Just like Bestia isn’t authentic traditional Italian food either…
Ummm… yes. It looks a little more than that, but yes. I’ve long given up trying to recreate another country’s experience here. We live in California. Why not use our great abundance with spices and cooking techniques from other countries?
Just curious @DTLAeater. I’ve never been to Italy. What would you say is inauthentic about Bestia?
Duck and shrimp are popular there, even if you don’t usually see them at ME restaurants in the US.
Yes, especially seafood is becoming more and more popular. I mean, some parts of the Middle East are surrounded by fantastic bodies of water.
I don’t think there’s a lot of confit-ing going on there either, but…
I am not especially well-traveled in Italy either, though I have been there, but many of the dishes at Bestia take Californian / local ingredients, and apply them to classic Italian dishes or in some cases are just the product of good cooking. Are you supposed to put kale on a pizza in Napoli? Probably not. Is a classic pasta dish supposed to be spinach gnocchetti with bone marrow mixed in? Maybe it is, but haven’t seen it myself. There are seemingly more traditional dishes too, like “Cavatelli alla Norcina”, but I do not think Chef Ori feels constrained to only typical ingredient combinations.
Bestia was first-rate Cal-Italian to me, using local ingredients in an Italian way.
Yah as others have mentioned, I think it’s a bit of both: There’s some more traditionally found items (like Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Handmade Pitas, Malawach Bread, Turkish Flatbreads, Marinated Olives, Cucumber & Artichoke Salad, etc., but also touches that are certainly Chef Ori elevating / reinterpreting the dishes via his own chef’s training and California.
A basic Cucumber Salad is transformed here with Orange Blossom, Pickled Rose Onions, Green Garlic & Pistachio Dukkah; their Shawarma is unlike any Shawarma I’ve had before, using Slow-Roasted Lamb Neck that is so tender and luscious, and then creates a Crème Fraiche Tahini, Fermented Cabbage, Pickled Turnips, and a wonderful Handmade Laffa Bread.
The Shrimp is a Harissa Marinated Shrimp then grilled, and served over a tasty, really pure, vibrant Eggplant Tzatziki. Is that “Middle Eastern”? I haven’t eaten directly at any of the countries in the Middle East, so I don’t know, but it tastes pretty incredible.
The Aged Duck definitely feels like the most “non” dish, I suppose, but it’s one of my favorites regardless. The Duck Breast is served as a Kebab (grilled over their open hearth), the Duck Hearts & Livers are served over an Eggplant Puree that I think is their Baba Ghanoush, and that leaves the Aged Duck Confit, which tastes totally French, but is SO DARN GOOD! I’m not complaining.
Okay, I get it. I loved Bestia’s Cavatelli alla Norcina, btw.
Certainly seems to be ok in Rome.